Finding Strength in Numbers While Battling PsA
Meet the woman behind Chronicon—where folks with chronic conditions like psoriatic arthritis can connect.
Nitika Chopra may be the founder of Chronicon now—but not so long ago, she felt deeply depressed over the pain and plaques she endured from psoriatic arthritis. Watch her journey from chronic isolation to major inspiration for the PsA community—and for everyone facing an ongoing health condition.
Nitika Chopra, 39, is a shining beacon to everyone living with a chronic illness.
Though her path has been fraught with challenges, Nitika’s radiance and optimism have guided her to help thousands of people all across the world.
A first-generation immigrant from India, Nitika discovered her Psoriasis at the young age of 10.
It started as a nickel-sized dry patch on her left arm. Her parents both had eczema and assumed Nitika now did, too.
A biopsy confirmed her psoriasis diagnosis, and within a year Nitika was covered in painful plaques.
She ended up quitting soccer and other sports she loved. Why? Because she wore leggings, long-sleeved shirts, anything to conceal her patches. And it was too hot to play like that.
To make matters worse, her Indian heritage presented additional hurdles for her to overcome.
“I’m already in a marginalized group. I’m first-generation, my parents are immigrants. We didn’t have emotional tools built into our culture to deal with my psoriasis.”
“Also, I was often the only brown kid. So, not only was I brown, I was also covered in scales.”
Constant bullying led to insecurity, and she found friendships impossible to cultivate.
Nitika developed depression as her life revolved around her psoriasis. The patches were very painful, and therapy became a necessity several times a week.
To make matters worse, at the young age of 19 Nitika developed psoriatic arthritis.
She was in her college dorm trying to open a box of cereal and could not open the inner plastic bag. After consulting with her doctor, X-rays confirmed her diagnosis.
Her pain was so severe that she was unable to move without hurting for the next five years. It took her an extra three years to graduate college.
Her life seemed hopeless. Insecurity, isolation, confusion, and mental anguish were all she knew.
Just as she reached her lowest point, a group of close friends stepped in. They encouraged her to embrace a positive outlook, self-care, and ownership of her illness.
“I began taking small steps towards learning how I was more than just my condition. I treated myself to long baths with sweet-smelling sea salts. I lovingly rubbed lotion on my skin to help soothe the pain.”
“I put on my favorite shade of red lipstick and painted my nails.”
“I collected pictures of everything that inspired me, ultimately creating a vision board of the life I always wanted.”
She began to develop a sense of compassion for her condition and herself and started to gain a sense of hope, realizing that “I was meant for something much bigger than a life spent in misery.”
At age 25, she began taking a biologic. It helped tremendously.
A renewed sense of optimism, self-love, and improving health motivated Nitika to follow her dreams.
At the age of 28, she started her first company, an online beauty magazine called Bella Life.
She dove headfirst into the beauty world, hosting her own talk show, "Naturally Beautiful", which focused on holistic beauty, and got a job as a beauty expert for a skincare brand on QVC.
These early successes proved inspirational, and Nitika pushed herself to help as many people as she could.
She entered the world of social media. Her goal was to be authentic and unapologetic as she helped to normalize chronic conditions like psoriasis.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and her blog all helped women like her be free of the shame she felt as a young person living with her conditions.
Eventually, she got into event planning and began to wonder, "What if there was a space dedicated to people with chronic illnesses?"
She planted this single thought as a seed that grew into Chronicon, an inclusive community-building event focused on those living with chronic illness.
The first Chronicon happened in 2019 in New York City. The event sold out, had 2,000 livestream viewers, and high-level brand sponsors.
Chronicon’s mission: To break the cycle of isolation and show people living with chronic conditions that they’re not alone… and they’re strong, powerful, beautiful and capable.
“If I can love my body with all of its psoriasis scars, soft parts from hormone imbalances, freckles from sun therapy, and scaly patches when I am flaring up, I want you to know that you can love your body just as it is, too.”
Nitika now looks to her Indian heritage for inspiration. “My name means ray of sunlight in Sanskrit, and I couldn’t be more proud of it.”
Although her chronic illness will always be with her, she shines her light to world so that others who are struggling might not feel so alone.